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Black Women: Baby Makers or Baby Killers?

According to Clenard Childress, “the most dangerous place for an African American to be is in the womb of their African American mother.” From claims of being the least attractive women in the world (Satoshi Kanazawa’s study), to schizophrenically being viewed as both “irresponsible baby makers” and unrepentant “baby killers,” Black women find their roles as mother, daughter, lover, and grandmother under attack.  This is not a new situation but what is at issue is the consequences that these attacks have on all black women’s ability to live as self-determining human beings.

In Chicago (and all over the country) , black women are being targeted by LifeAlways, a  pro-life (read: anti-choice) organization, through ad campaigns meant to target black women’s “over-reliance” on Abortion as a form of birth-control.   According to Black Women for Reproductive Justice (BWRJ), Its “research has revealed that LifeAlways is, in fact, financially supported by the anti-choice group Heroic Media which has been involved in numerous fundraising events for former Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Regardless at 5812 South State Street hang ads with a profile of President Obama claiming that “every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted.”  Yeah, powerfully stated, but it erases facts: 1) Obama’s mother was white; 2) the lack of viable alternatives to abortion for  certain women; 3) and the very unimaginable situations that create unplanned pregnancies faced by women in general.   However, I agree, in part, with the larger efforts by some anti-choice persons to better inform black Americans men andwomen about the history of reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood in the United States.

In this 10 minute clip, you get a tailored history lesson on the racist agenda that spawned Planned Parenthood.  Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned-Parenthood was a racist and an eugenicist, she referred to black people as “reckless breeders” inclined towards producing “human weeds” that “never should have been born.”  With this information, the role of liberal and conservative becomes more complex and difficult to decipher (at least for me).

Since Reagan, we’ve made references to the welfare queen and the irresponsible black mothers having babies that they can’t take care of, and who then rely upon the government to support their children and themselves. Now recently, we’ve become just as accustomed to seeing black women persecuted by white and black people—largely—males for black women’s efforts to not be an ‘irresponsible baby maker.’  Although I am pro-choice, I am deeply troubled by the untenable relationship between the past objectives and the current situation (see chart above).  When do we assess the agenda of an organization created by racists and eugenicists? How do we address the current situation where black women’s reproductive rights are possibly narrowly defined as irresponsible no matter her choice?


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